Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

When Do You Start Taking Reading of Your Primary?

What signs do you look for to tell you that it’s time to start taking gravity readings of your primary? I know the most obvious one is the bubbles coming out of your airlock.

I have been watching mine and after six days it is bubbles every 11 seconds. I know that this must mean more time to go, but at what rate should i consider taking readings as my primary is most likely finished?

Also, looking at the sides, i don’t see much swirling in the beer anymore and most objects are now falling rather than rising.

I take the first reading between 10-14 days when I am transferring to the secondary. No need to check earlier and risk contamination.

I leave my standard ales on the yeast for 3 weeks. I don’t mess with them in the mean time. This lets the yeast reabsorb any metabolic by products of fermentation. Also decreases risk of contamination from opening the fermenter too much.

I don’t use a secondary unless I am dry hopping, adding spices, or bulk aging big beers. So at 3 weeks I just bottle or keg most of my ales.

Your killing me!! This is my first beer so i’m just dying to fast track everything. But damnit that 5 gallon carboy has gots to be used for something! I feel like begging my local HB to do a trade and some cash for a 6 gallon carboy so i can brew another batch now. I assume that i won’t regret not having the 5 gallon carboy later as i can do secondary in a 6 gallon.

Great idea. :cheers:

I’m in the 14 day camp.

Unless you “need” this beer for a party, patience will reward you.

[quote]Your killing me!! This is my first beer so i’m just dying to fast track everything. But damnit that 5 gallon carboy has gots to be used for something! I feel like begging my local HB to do a trade and some cash for a 6 gallon carboy so i can brew another batch now. I assume that i won’t regret not having the 5 gallon carboy later as i can do secondary in a 6 gallon.
[/quote]

Funny, this is what I did last week so I had (2) 6 gallon carboy and now have an extra pale going as well. :wink: I had a new 5 gal and just took it in and swapped it for a 6 gal and paid the difference.

I also have a third one which is a 5 gal if I ever need to move one to secondary.

[quote=“Duxx”]I leave my standard ales on the yeast for 3 weeks. I don’t mess with them in the mean time. This lets the yeast reabsorb any metabolic by products of fermentation. Also decreases risk of contamination from opening the fermenter too much.
[/quote]That’s pretty much my procedure too. I also ferment my beers at the very low end of the temperature range so they tend to ferment a little slower.

[quote=“mppatriots”]Your killing me!! This is my first beer so i’m just dying to fast track everything. But damnit that 5 gallon carboy has gots to be used for something! I feel like begging my local HB to do a trade and some cash for a 6 gallon carboy so i can brew another batch now. I assume that i won’t regret not having the 5 gallon carboy later as i can do secondary in a 6 gallon.[/quote]We’ve all been there! I think I picked up a second fermenter after my second batch. When I first started brewing, conventional wisdom was to pitch yeast ~75° so my beers tended to finish rather quickly. I’d keep your carboy and pick up a bucket for a second fermenter, they’re cheap.

I primary in my 5 gallon carboy all the time. No real problem with being too small. They will actually hold like 5 3/4 gallon anyway.

Theres nothing wrong with a secondary, you can transfer as soon as the activity dies back a little. The key is to transfer over a lot of yeast with the beer. Transferring of the cake is where you get in trouble. I’m actually starting to think getting a malty beer under an airlock with little headspace is a good idea to prevent oxidation, but you don’t give the beer time to mature if you pull it off the yeast too soon. Stir things up as you transfer and you’ll be just fine, then you’ll have your primary for batch #2.

As long as it’s at a stable FG and tastes good, an average-gravity ale should be ready for packaging/conditioning after <10 days. Take a reading today and another in 3-4 days, and if they’re identical you’re ready to keg/bottle. Or “secondary”, if you feel the need.

What is the original gravity on this one? If it’s low to begin with and you had a really active fermentation right away you could probably take a reading and maybe transfer it. If it’s higher though I usually let them sit for a minimum of two weeks before I even think about checking it.

I occasionally do half batches using a 5 gallon carboy for primary and a 3 gallon for secondary. But for full batches, I use 6 gallon carboys for primary and my 5s for secondary.

Oh, and i never start taking readings before 14days…usually i wait for a full 3 weeks. I’m a firm believer in the “want it bad, get it bad” philosphy of brewing. Patience really does pay off here.

:cheers:

The original gravity was 1042. The fermentation started at about 10hrs and has been pretty active. I had lots of krausen, but that has now receded quite a bit. Today is day 6 and I’m still pretty active with the bubbles. I fermented at an ambient of 62 degrees so my fermentation may be longer.

I tend to make a low gravity beer every 3rd batch or so, and if you pitch healthy yeast (I usually make a small starter-600ml or so) you can get your fermentation done in a few days sometimes. I have an ordinary Bitters right now that tastes really good which was bottled after a week. I often plan my batches so that the low-gravity beer acts as a starter for a bigger beer a week or so later. You can get a fast fermentation if you pitch healthy yeast even at reasonably low temps (mine are usually in the low to mid 60’s) with gravities under 1.045 or so, and the beer can be ready to bottle in less than 10 days. There is not much for the yeast to clean up with an ale yeast in a low gravity beer, and keeping it in the fermentor for 3 weeks really is not necessary if the active fermentation was over within 4-5 days.

Like others, I never check the gravity until it is time to bottle/keg - most of the times not even then to be honest. As long as there was a ferment going on,and it was not a real “big” beer, I figure the yeast did its job. I rarely use secondary. My theory is that the less often I touch my beer after it has been cooled, the better.

As far as trading in your carboy - try trading it for a couple buckets with spigots and lids, and then you can have TWO more fermentors instead of one:)

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com